Presented by Wayne Mooers, NC/LT Chapter Historian, July 2018
Mulligan, our 1959 21’ Besotes Tahoe Runabout Model
Joined ACBS : 2002
Born: 1952, Stockton, (4th generation)
Still Resides: Stockton, CA
Family: Wife, Kristina
Career: Owner, Office Supply Systems
First Boating: 1950’s, Delta & Tahoe waters
Proud of: Having Mulligan back again!
Robert Talks About Mulligan:
“She was originally built for Charlie Risso of Stockton, and Christened Just E Nuff. She is a Besotes 1959 21’ Tahoe Runabout model – with a closed aft deck covering the engine.”
“My brother, Mike Bosworth was her 3rd owner and his family enjoyed her from 1981 thru 1993. We were all involved with the Delta’s Stockton Water Ski Club events, along with the water skiing Besotes brothers. We are now the 6th owner having purchased her back into our family in June of 2002. It felt right having her back with us again. My wife Tina renamed her Mulligan – after a feral cat we saved from bone cancer. All things deserve a second chance!
“Mulligan was well “enjoyed” and in bad shape. She needed a second chance too! Her Chrysler 392 cid, 300 hp Hemi engine (50 mph boat speed) was rebuilt by Ray Jones in Stockton, while Guido Mazza of Ladd’s Marine did his woodworking “magic” on the African mahogany plywood decks, hull sides, and replaced the transom. Guido is also an accomplished painter; he carefully prepped and applied the 12 perfect coats of varnish on Mulligan’s decks. She sparkles and is like new again.” She’s back with our family again!
Robert Shares his Besotes Memories, Researched / Edited by Wayne Mooers
The Greek brothers George & Charlie Besotes originally started blending wood and steel together building produce truck body parts in 1934. They later (1950) incorporated these strength advantages into their boats – using steel I beam hull stringers to support the big V-8 engines. The use of the uncommon steel stringers offered an extremely stiff hull ‘backbone.” This unique building process continued on thru 1959; Big Thunder is the last known Besotes build using the steel stringers. Earlier on, in 1955, Besotes even formed a sheet aluminum bottom onto an 18’ El Dorado model named Carmen. The brothers were creative boat builders.
The Besotes boat designs also incorporated a relatively low freeboard hull profile along with an ahead-of-its time reverse (arched) sheer line. Just sitting still, the boats looked fast!
Regarding Besotes boat models offered (1950 > 1973), all were custom built to the owners needs. Of the 214 known boat builds, most were ordered as utility (open aft walk around) models and the balance were runabout models with their closed aft engine area decks – like Mulligan. The boat lengths ranged from 16 through 21’ builds.
In the early 1950’s Charlie Besotes spent time at Henry J Kaiser’s Tahoe estate as a boat supervisor (and water ski instructor). This era influenced the brothers into building some special custom “Besotes race boats” for Kaiser, which “dominated” the competition during the time. The 1955 18’ Hells Za Poppin is an early example of a winning single cockpit race boat built for Kaiser. Likewise in 1957 the larger 21’ High Society race boat was getting attention too.
Recently Sierra Boat Company meticulously restored the award winning 1964 21’ Besotes single cockpit (1 of 3) race boat Orange Crate for her current owner, Ed Scott. She went on to win again, this time the ACBS 100 point (perfect) restoration score in 2014. She is powered by her original Ford 427 cid customized engine, which pushed her to a “60’s era fast, “way-beyond-50-mph” winning speed at the Tahoe race events. Besotes boats are still in short supply and demand; one Stockton area Besotes collector owns 9 boats!
By the late 1960’s Besotes tooled up an all fiberglass 17’ utility model in keeping with the era transition to fiberglass boats. Six all-fiberglass boats were built during this final building era by the Greek brothers George & Charlie.
Yet there was one last Besotes build – this time for their family – a special Besotes aluminum and wood “land yacht” motor home. Upon its completion, the brothers closed down their 40 year old Besotes Brothers Equipment and Boat Company, grabbed their wives, and went off land cruising. Both brothers died in 2002, in their mid 80’s. Inseparable.